It's been awhile since I've been able to race a half marathon, a few years in fact. I came to the decision to not chase a PR (1:31:30) and instead use today as a tuneup run, practicing marathon pace and also trying to get 20 miles in for the day.
Officially, I am calling this race the humid marathon -- It was a wee bit on the warm side for fall racing, but not bad for a shorter race. I had a long week and worked most of Friday so I took it really easy, napping, watching TV and eating carbs.
Fast forward to the race, I arrived about 30 minutes before the race and bumped into a former co-worker who ended up winning the media challenge in the half. Really speedy.
It has been a few weeks since I have been able to do some good paced running since my achilles tendon flared up a little. On Friday, I did 5K with a few kilometres at 10K pace so it felt pretty good.
As the race started, I knew my GPS would have some problems due to the bridges and buildings we would be running around. The first few kilometres made it a little difficult to gauge whether I was going too fast.
The first few splits let me to slow down a bit. Most of them were pretty bang ong.
1-5K (somewhat adjusted)
Around the time we were south of the SkyDome, I saw Ed Whitlock, a local running legend in his 70s and going strong.
It was pretty smooth sailing for the next little while, again just trying to regain a feel for the speed I've been avoiding for two weeks. Felt really good to open up and I was happy that my cardio system was able to take it in.
I knew I was going faster than the 4:37s than I'd planned so I just stuck with it and tried not to slow down.
Yes, it did occur to me that a year ago to the day, I was doing these types of splits, even faster in bits, as I was running 4:30s, trying to BQ at 3:10. I was feeling a little overwhelmed that today, I was merely matching the pace I did for most of the race a year ago. As we neared the splitoff between the half marathoners and fulls, I felt a swell of pride for those marathoners and said "good hunting, marathoners" to the guys to my right. Felt totally in awe of them. That'll be me in three weeks. Paying homage to their craft, I decided to start hammering it home. Why not.
So the last five kilometres, I just upped the pace and it still felt comfortable. I'm a little glad it didn't feel too hard.
The last kilometre up Bay Street, I just started to reel in a lot of runners and by the last 300 metres, I was entering sprint mode.
So that's it, half marathon in 1:35:31, four minutes slower than my PB but a few minutes faster than my marathon pace.
Chip time: 1:35:30
I continued running after the race and put in another 10K. With my warmup, that adds up to about 32K for the day. Taper has started. Marathon countdown begins.
During my post-race 10K, I saw Marlene (first time we've talked in person) and ran with her for a few hundred metres. I saw her later on at the 600 metre to go mark. She did great, lowering her thon time by a big margin. Congrats and here's a blurry picture I took.